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GTECH 361. Introduction to GIScience. Contact Information. Instructor: Jochen Albrecht Office: Hunter N1030 Office hours: We, Th 2-3 PM E-Mail: Phone: (212) 772-5221 TA: Pyung Ho Kim E-Mail: Course Overview.

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Gtech 361


Introduction toGIScience

Contact information

Contact Information

Instructor: Jochen Albrecht

Office: Hunter N1030

Office hours: We, Th 2-3 PM


Phone: (212) 772-5221

TA: Pyung Ho Kim


Course overview

Course Overview

  • GIScience is a lofty goal for this course

  • Principles/fundamentals of GIS is a more realistic goal

    • Theory and practice

    • GIS as a process

    • Becoming a well-versed user of any GIS

Relationship to gtech 201

Relationship to GTECH 201

  • Revision of course contents of undergraduate offerings

  • One-time slight overlap with Fall 04 GTECH 201

  • New software (ArcGIS 9)



  • Required: none

  • Recommended (choice of)

    • Burke et al 2004. Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop (updated for ArcGIS 9). ESRI Press (but a lot cheaper from Amazon).

    • Burrough, P and R McDonnell 1998. Principles of GIS. Oxford: Oxford University Press .

    • deMers, Michael 2004. Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems. New York: Wiley.

    • Worboys, M and M Duckham 2004. GIS: a computing perspective. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.



  • Attendance

  • Plagiarism

  • Special accommodations

  • Lab policies

  • Assignments

Criteria for evaluation

Criteria for Evaluation

  • 10 Quizzes20%

  • 14 Lab exercises50%

  • Midterm exam15%

  • Final exam15%

  • Hunter undergraduate grading scheme according to percentage of points accumulated over the semester.



Class #DateTopic

101/28GIScience and GIStudies

202/01Storing geographic information

L102/04Lab 1: Getting started with ArcGIS

302/08Geographic data sources

L202/15Lab 2: Creating map symbology

402/18Cartographic communication and geospatial visualization

L302/22Lab 3: Referencing data to real locations

502/25Datums, projections, and coordinate systems

L403/01Lab 4: Organizing geographic data

603/04Basic spatial queries

L503/08Lab 5: Creating and editing data

703/11Secondary data

L603/15Lab 6: Exploring the geodatabases model

803/18Midterm Exam



Class #DateTopic

L703/22Lab 7: Creating a geodatabases

903/24Advanced spatial queries

L804/01Lab 8: Creating and editing features in a geodatabases

1004/05The third dimension

L904/08Lab 9: Adding behavior to a geodatabase

1104/12Raster GIS and map algeba

L1004/15Lab 10: Getting started with GIS analysis

1204/19Spatial statistics and data quality

L1104/22Lab 11: Geoprocessing and Modeling

1305/03GIS and society: social, legal, economic and organizational aspects

L1205/06Lab 12: Designing maps with ArcGIS

1405/10Review and final exam preparation

L1305/13Lab 13: Working with Labels

L1405/17Lab 14: Working with Annotation

05/19 - 05/22Final (online) Exam

Course web site

Course Web Site


  • Lecture PowerPoint slides

  • Lab exercise instructions

  • Lab exercise datasets

Giscience vs gistudies

GIScience vs. GIStudies

  • GISystems (GIS)

    • Emphasis on technology and tools

  • GIScience (GISci)

    • Fundamental issues raised by the use of GIS and related technologies (e.g.)

      • Spatial analysis

      • Map projections

  • GIStudies (GISt)

    • Systematic study of the use of geographic information

  • Accuracy

  • Scientific visualization

Gis as an approach to science

GIS as an Approach to Science

  • Geographic Information Science is research both on and with GIS.

    “the generic issues that surround the use of GIS technology, impede its successful implementation, or emerge from an understanding of its potential capabilities.” (Goodchild, 1992)

Gtech 361

The Science Behind

  • In the U.S.: geography, UCGIS

  • to GIS as statistics is to the statistical packages

  • The science behind the systems

  • Fundamental issues arising from use

  • The science that is done with the technology

  • Systematic study of geographic information using scientific methods

Gtech 361

A New Discipline

  • Symptoms of a science

    • journals, terms, books, conferences, departments, heroes, cultural artifacts

    • grand challenges

  • What would we say to Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking?

    • “As young man, my fondest dream was to become a geographer. However, while working in the customs office I thought deeply about the matter and concluded that it was far too difficult a subject. With some reluctance, I then turned to physics as a substitute.”

Contributing disciplines

Contributing Disciplines

  • Geography

  • Remote Sensing

  • Surveying

  • Statistics

  • Computer Science

  • Information Science

  • Cartography

  • Photogrammetry

  • Geodesy

  • Operations Research

  • Mathematics

  • Management Science

Major journals magazines

Major Journals/Magazines

  • International Journal of Geographical Information Science

  • Cartography and Geographic Information Science

  • Geographical Systems

  • Transactions in GIS

  • Geo Info Systems

  • GEOWorld (formerly GISWorld)

Specialty journals

Specialty Journals

  • Business Geographics

  • GIS Law

  • Mapping Awareness

  • GrassClippings

  • Arc User

  • Intergraph News

  • GIS Asia/Pacific

  • GIS World Report/CANADA

  • GIS Europe

Regular gisci scholarly papers

Regular GISci Scholarly Papers

  • Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing

  • Annals of the Association of American Geographers

  • Cartographica

  • Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems

  • Computers and Geosciences

  • IEEE Transactions on Computer Graphics and Applications

Occasional gisci scholarly papers

Occasional GISci Scholarly Papers

  • International Journal of Remote Sensing

  • Landscape Ecology

  • Cartographic Perspectives

  • Cartographica

  • Journal of Cartography

  • Geocarto International

  • IEEE Geosciences

  • Remote Sensing Review

  • Mapping Science and Remote Sensing

  • Infoworld

Professional organizations

Professional Organizations

  • AAG: The Association of American Geographers.

  • GITA: Geospatial Information & Technology Assoc. (formerly AM/FM)

  • URISA: Urban and Regional InformationSystems Association.

  • ACSM: American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.

  • ASPRS: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

  • UCGIS: University Consortium for Geographic Information Science

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